Out of Africa – my trip to Tanzania

Have you ever misplaced something that you know you haven’t lost but it is somewhere in your apartment/house and you just can’t find it? Well that is what happened to my memory card from my trip to Africa. I knew I had it somewhere but just couldn’t remember where. I was cleaning out our office area the other day and I found it! I was so excited because some of the most beautiful pictures I have ever taken came from that trip. Since I found the pics, I thought I would share the highlights of this amazing trip I took with my family 5 years ago.

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My brother, sister and I grew up watching National Geographic. My dad loved that stuff. He would make us watch it with him, even when it was pretty gory. He always said that one day he would take us to Africa.  I think that was the concession prize to learn, as a 10 year old,  how to stomach watching a lion eat an antelope on TV. I never actually thought that trip would happen but the stars aligned in the summer of 2008.

The four of use spent 10 days in Tanzania at the Singita Grumeti Reserve  – which might just be the nicest “resort” I have ever stayed at and for that matter, will ever stay at. You can’t even call it a resort, it is a group of 3 lodges laid out among 340,000 beautiful Tanzanian acres in the Serengeti.  The reserve has basically every kind of animal living there that you can imagine – elephants, lions, cheetahs, antelope – you name it. During our time there we saw almost everything, except the elusive  rhino.

Singita is not the easiest place to get to. I literally traveled to the other side of the world to go on this trip. I flew from SF to Miami to London to Nairobi to Tanzania and then from Tanzania we took a small plane into the reserve. On the way home, it took me 40 hours to get home. But it was so worth it.

Over the 10 days there, we alternated between different lodges/camps. Our days were laid out according to the animals’ schedules – we would wake up and go for a drive in the morning, relax during the middle of the day and then go for an evening drive. It was all based on their mealtime. Throughout our stay we had the most amazing guide, Alfred. Alfred was originally from Zimbabwe and was the most knowledgable guide – he literally knew everything and anything. We completely lucked out with him.

I can’t believe that this trip was 5 years ago. Seems like yesterday but in reality a lot has changed since then, weddings, babies – life basically.

Enjoy the pics!

Our mode of transportation across the plains of Africa. It didn’t have any doors/windows so you could see the animals up close.
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Giraffes are the coolest animals. Have you ever seen one of them run? Amazing. Google it because it is that amazing.
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Some lions in our way.
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Like I mentioned before the day basically revolved around when the animals would eat. One evening my sister and I went for a sunset drive without  my brother and dad. We came across this little guy. Unfortunately he was left by his herd and all alone on the open African plain. There was nothing around for miles.We tried to convince Alfred to save him and keep him as the reserve’s mascot, but apparently when zebras get older they are ornery and have a tendency to bite and kick. Not sure they would have been thrilled had we shown up back at the lodge with a baby zebra. So we had to leave him.
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This might be one of the saddest pictures I have ever seen. This poor little zebra walking away all alone. To this day, that poor little zebra breaks my heart. It is the circle of life and all that, but to see it that close is astounding and so sad that you can’t do anything about it. Wherever you are little zebra, I am sending you some love.
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From one sad story to another (sorry). The location of the reserve is along the migration path of the wildebeest. Every year, hundreds of thousands of wildebeest travel from Kenya through Tanzania in search of drier land. We had just missed the migration but there were a couple stragglers left behind. This poor guy should have kept up with the herd. Sadly the hyena’s chased him down and won. We watched the whole thing. I will spare you from the rest of the pictures. It was both horrifying and amazing. Again that darn circle of life.
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One takeaway from our trip  -  lions are lazy. The are called kings of the jungle for some reason (which actually does not make sense since tigers live in jungles, but whatever). For 10 days we saw a lot of lions and I am pretty sure I only saw one or two of them move or even think about moving. They just laid there. I did however want to go pet them (look at how cute!). Thankfully, I was persuaded not to – I am sure their laziness is just an act so they can eat silly tourists like me.
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After watching the hyena’s take down that wildebeest, I have a new-found respect and fear for those guys. In addition to hyenas, elephants scared me. Lions, no big deal. Hyena’s seem scrappy so make sure you keep an eye on them. But elephants – they are the scary animals. If an elephant charges you, you have got no shot. They are adorable, but do not mess with Dumbo.
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A couple days during the trip I went horseback riding. Talk about out in the middle of it all – on a horse you are basically part of the animal kingdom. Thankfully there were no hyenas around but I did get to gallop alongside a giraffe. The horse didn’t seem to like it, but I did.
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One morning during the trip we woke up extra early to go hot air ballooning. It was wild. First of all you have to climb into the basket which is on its side. There are no seatbelts or harnesses (this is Africa people). The fire is then lit and the balloon expands and literally drags the basket, still on its side, along the ground until you get some air and the basket straightens out. The landing is the same way. You just hold on and hope for the best.Here we are getting ready for take off.
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But once up there, there are no words for how beautiful it is.
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Sunrise over the Serengeti
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Sunsets and sunrises in Africa we perfect in every sense of the word. I think that is what they are supposed to look like but silly buildings seem to get in the way.
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These are just the highlights from our trip, if you want to check out all the pics and there are a lot of them, click here. We loved our trip and I can’t wait to make it back to Africa. I only saw the littlest portion of that huge amazing continent but it was incredible.

In the spirit of wanderlusting, there are a couple other trips that I might have to document on here as well, so stay tuned.

Comments

  1. Cathy says

    Thanks for the escape to a far away land as I sit at my desk, surrounded by a bunch of buildings. Beautiful pics! :)

  2. Megan says

    I had no idea you were in Tanzania at the same time I was living in Uganda–so cool! I loved your safari pics and the baby zebra story. Sad, but so cute! Oh, and thank you for remarking that Africa is a continent. :)

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